Network is a brilliant film but is it misogynistic? I found this discussion interesting:
I’ll have to demur on the idea of Network as a great screenplay, even though it is, in many ways, a really formidable piece of work. It’s vilely mysoginistic, resting on a banal dichotomy between faithful homebody wife and carniverous career-woman mistress, and allowing the everyman protagonist a too-easy moral superiority over Faye’s Diana (the speech in which he tells her she’s incapable of love or somesuch is one of the worst things Chayefsky ever wrote, both preachy and psychologically flat). And the ending, with the televised assassination, is just ludicrously hysterical, even as satirical hyperbole.
But Dunaway is phenomenal. Like Streep in ‘Kramer vs. Kramer’ and Close in ‘Fatal Attraction’, she’s a one-woman rescue mission, parachuting into a sexist film and single-handedly rescuing her character from pathologised caricature.
I’m guessing I’m alone on this one, though…
The male perspective isn’t inherently sexist. It’s devoid of the nuance of empathy for the other side—that’s a biological and cultural trait of maleness. Guy Lodge used the fiance character from Midnight in Paris as an example of misogyny in Woody Allen’s work. Outside of Deconstructing Harry and Stardust Memories he’s never been torturous to his female characters.
Intelligence. Sexuality. Strength. These characteristics in a woman will always feel like a threat to men because there’s no premium in the male universe for vulnerability—especially to the weaker sex (upper body strength).
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